Saturday, August 26, 2006

Martin Luther King: MIA

I'm looking for you, Martin,
I'm searching Selma, back-row
bus seats, filthy lunch counters,
Dylan's guitar, Hoover's files ,tapes
of your I Have A Dream march
through days when protest and love
beat within the same heart chamber;
days when we thought black
would meet white and white would
meet black in a role reversal melt
down of ivory keys played
on a Sunday organ in churches
pouring christ's blood into silver chalices
to hand out to whoSOEVER believed.

Where are you, Martin?
Do you sit, unseen, in laps
of the homeless, the disenfranchised,
the beaten and raped women,
the molested children and sad,
jobless men, telling them love
will still rule the world and no hand
will ever again be raised with whip,
chain or fist to innocent backs
and no lips will mark just-born babies
with a hunting dog's thirst for the kill?

Come back, Martin.
Take up your staff, strap
on your sandals. Lead us forward
to a salvation of arms outreached
in an endless ballet where princes
remains faithful and trapped swans
are set free by long journey's end.

Pris Campbell

Martin Luther King at the 1963 March to Washington civil rights rally, giving his I have a Dream speech.


Shane said...

maybe the era of great ones is gone eh Pris? Sometimes i feel a little disenfranchised from the human race.

Here's to good people (raising a glass)

RachelChisholm2006 said...

Voices in the wilderness of today's world seem to be silenced if the words they utter do not fit the bill, or Bush or Blair. Or have I just become too cynical?
Can there ever be another Martin?

Thought-provoking as ever Pris!

Pris said...

I feel the same way both of you do. I don't see any strong figures speaking out for what's right , anymore. Look what happened to the ones who did. They were assasinated. What a loss. What irony in that.

Plus Ultra said...

Pris, this is really ONE poem I want to read again and again to remind myself that I need to to walk where he walked...

Pris said...

He was quite a man. I went on that March to Washington. Was working in Manhattan that summer and went down on a chartered bus with a group. I still have chills when I think about it.

polona said...

i grew up in a different culture, but i can relate to this.
well done!

Pris said...

Thanks, polona!

pepektheassassin said...

Nice poem, pris. While you were looking for Martin, I was trying to find Manzanar...two different quests, but sort of the same.

Pris said...

Did you have ancesters there? What a horrible time in our history!

Helen Losse said...

Hi Pris, What a great poem. So open ended. Which is how the world is. I wrote my thesis on King: You seem to captured him.

Helen Losse said...

BTW, I linked to your blog.

Pris said...

Thanks, Helen. I just emailed you. I plan to link to you, too, but wasn't writing about that. Just found the second note after I wrote.:-)


Pat Paulk said...

I grew up when bullets were the way to maintain the status quo. Have things changed much, no. They just do it through the media, without spilling a drop of blood. Good poem Pris!!

Pris said...

Thanks, Pat...and yes, the media do their hatchet cover up jobs so effectively, don't they?